Unlike static generators that are permanently attached to the ground, portable generators offer mobility and ease of use for occasional or less demanding applications. If you don’t regularly experience power outages, a portable generator’s affordability and ability to supply emergency power to key appliances make it a smart choice. Static generators turn on automatically at a fixed location, so knowing how to use them correctly is essential.
Check out our portable generator buying guide to learn more about how to choose a generator and how to use them properly.
How to choose a portable generator
When considering different diesel generators for sale, you can start by learning the main factors to take into account when selecting a portable generator. You should have a set of criteria to judge the best portable generators for you. For example, if you want a quiet generator, you may want to target quiet portable generators.
Keep in mind that most portable generators run on diesel or gas. These fuel sources can provide the energy needed to power major appliances and household needs. Electric “generators” are often described more like power banks, which are only meant for small items like a laptop, phone, or fan.
Besides buying options, you can also consider a generator financing option to get a generator today without breaking your bank.
To find the best portable generators for your needs, check out some of the top factors to consider when buying a portable generator.
Potential Power Applications
When looking for a portable generator, it’s critical that you start by determining what you’ll need to power. If you only need to power a few items with minimal power requirements, you may want a generator with a lower wattage. However, if you have a lot of appliances and electronics that you want to power, you may want a more powerful option. If you make a list of what you need to feed, you will be able to make a better decision.
Appliance Starting Needs
Another important factor when evaluating a portable generator is the starting power needed by the appliances you plan to power. Since starting wattages can be two to three times higher than required to run an appliance, it is essential to check the starting wattages of the major appliances to make sure your potential portable generator can handle them.
General Power Requirements
In addition to checking the starting power of your essential appliances, you can evaluate portable generators by seeing if they can meet your general power needs. To calculate your overall power needs, add up the running power of the items you plan to use simultaneously. Also, calculate the total of your highest starting wattages. Add these two calculations together to find out how much power your portable generator needs.
Ease of Transportation
As you might expect, portable generators need to be mobile. Check that any portable generator you are thinking of buying is easy to transport. For gas and diesel generators, portability often means wheels. Make sure the wheels are strong enough to traverse rough terrain on a consistent basis.
If you plan to use your generator for long periods of time, you’ll need a portable generator that doesn’t need to be refueled too often. See how long your generator will last on a single deposit. If you only anticipate a few hours without power, a smaller tank will do the trick. If you have to maintain a motorhome on a camping trip or expect extended power outages, you may want something with a larger reservoir.
Number of Outlets
Another feature you will need to check is the number of outlets a portable generator offers. Think about how many appliances you want to power at once, and see if the portable generator you’re interested in has enough outlets to meet your needs.